Jack Russell X shows his dog toy retrieving skills. VIDEO

Chops the jack russell retrievingChops is a jack russell X  that I pro dog walk in Newport, Australia. Previous to this video we have footage of him doing the jack russell hop - caused most likely due to a knee issue. This video on this page really shows you what he loves doing best, retrieving.

Being a rescue dog and not socialised a great deal previous to his off lead walks, Chops was a very anxious little dog.  With one walk per week, he still carries a lot of that anxiety with him, though he has learned to trust the dogs in our pack, which is a huge step up for him.

On walks he can still bolt for safety with a perceived threat, and is ALWAYS on the lookout for trouble, at times seeming like a mere cat rather than a dog. And this survival instinct was no doubt reinforced for several years before he became a forever pet.

What this video is showing, besides a very cute dog doing very cute things is how when given a task that a dog was bred to do, they can completely loose themselves in the moment and overcome a lot of behavioural issues.

Jack russells are one of the best ratters around. They were bred to rid farms of vermin and take their job very seriously. If a jack russell has never been used for ratting, and has very rarely seen anything small it can chase, then like Chops, many of them can take obsessively to toy or ball retrieving.

While out in the open Chop's insecurities become obvious, at home in his front yard, with a duty to perform, not that different from the ones his ancestors were bred specifically to do, he throws himself completely into the task.

You will notice at the end of the retrieves, when he is supposed to be giving the dog toy back, he hangs on for dear life. You can easily lift him off the ground as he grips onto his toy/ prey.

He will often shake the toy from side to side with his head - a method used to break the necks of vermin and stop them potentially biting the dog. All of this instinctual ancestral information comes flooding back and is used in the game of toy retrieve.

Chops has so much fun in retrieving the toy that he reverts to just being a dog - you would not even know that he has a lot of anxieties in off lead areas. That is why it is great to do something with him that he really enjoys, as well as training to be social.

A mild caution on this is that there have been papers released warning about excess toy/ball  retrieving with dogs. While they might be programmed to do it, and seem to enjoy it, a lot of people use retrieving as a lazy tool to entertain and exercise their dog. It is not the same as a good long off lead dog walk, where the dog learns how to interact with other dogs.

Dogs retrieving real hunter game in swamps enjoy the process, it is real and not a truncated game. They don't have to retrieve the same bird in the same patch of swamp over and over.

Domestic dogs that are forced to retrieve too much can get issues with toy guarding and aggression and build up a lot of stress hormones, as the fun of retrieving turns into a pointless relentless task. That is why some people suggest 10 to 15 minutes at a time should be adequate for most fit dogs.  

This is only a suggestion, and may not be applicable to all dogs. If your dog already is incredibly social and this is the only way of releasing their tension, then use your own judgement.

It was just great seeing Chops unwind after his 45 minute off lead dog walk session.

Article by Bruce Dwyer. Like this article? Then please use a LINK reference to  www.dogwalkersmelbourne.com.au

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